Living Room

New LR Rug Progess

I’ve been rug shopping for about a year now, trying to find a pretty persian for our loft living room. The striped rug suffered from a red juice incident and has never quite been the same. It is a lovely rug, but I’ve pretty much decided across the board that I prefer that graphic patterned…

I’ve been rug shopping for about a year now, trying to find a pretty persian for our loft living room. The striped rug suffered from a red juice incident and has never quite been the same. It is a lovely rug, but I’ve pretty much decided across the board that I prefer that graphic patterned rugs with any white in the pattern go in a bedroom or an office. Any time I choose a jute or a persian rug for a living room project, it just works better and looks better for longer. Function trumps form for me, but only by a little bit. :)

I am SO picky about rugs now. They are the hardest design decision for a room I think. Just like clothes, fit is everything, so often you should be buying a rug for a specific room’s needs. And since rugs should be so big, the color can really change the feel of a room. And because of lighting, you almost always have to try a rug out before buying, which is a nightmare. And rugs are so gosh darn expensive. And if they’re not expensive, you can tell. Tricky! (going rugless seems better and better by the day!)

I’ve decided to go with a jute rug in our brownstone’s extra long living room. I love the texture of natural fiber rugs and I think the jute will hold up well against the residual dirt I’m sure will get tracked in from the garden (although I do know there are cleaning challenges that come with natural fiber rugs).

I used Merida’s Bora Bora jute rug in Volcano for a client project recently and it is just natural fiber rug perfection. It’s as cushy and soft as wool. The color is a lovely driftwood gray, not yellow like most jutes (so over yellow rugs for a while!), and it comes with a braided edging option.

The IKEA Tarnby and West Elm jutes are great rugs, but they are not nearly as soft as the Merida and I don’t like that they are borderless. It feels a little unfinished and the edges have rolled up for me even with rug tape. The closest second place to the Merida rug I’ve seen is this Pottery Barn rug. But again, it’s not as soft and the color is very light and yellow.

We need a long, narrow rug for the brownstone, and the quote back from Merida was out of our budget (almost $4000 for the custom size. Ouch!). Then over Memorial Day I did a little shopping in the ABC clearance basement, and what did I spy over in the jute corner? A handful of driftwood gray braided jute rugs.

Turns out these are not Merida, but a company called Fibre Works. Look how similar the color and weave is though!

Full price, their rugs are not all that much cheaper than the Merida jutes. But they just happened to have some in the clearance basement. So while they weren’t IKEA-cheap, they ended up being more like PotteryBarn-cheap with the sale and my designer discount. 

I ended up buying two 8x11s that I’ll use to make a big 11×16 rug. I’m thinking about blind-stich binding them myself with some jute twine and then the seam will be invisible. But even when they’re separate and just sitting next to each other, the seam is not all that noticeable. It would be super easy to do this with the IKEATarnby if you need a big rug for super cheap. The weave of jute provides a lot of give, so you can sort of morph the edges into each other.
The tape measure marks out the LEE sofa here.

And here’s where the chesterfield will sit.

I want to layer a smaller (like 6×9) persian on the jute under the seating area for a little bit of color and pattern on the floor, like the inspiration photos at the top of the post. I saw this pretty turkish rug at the flea market the same day I bought the jutes. Aren’t the colors fantastic? It was not super cheap, so I was a good girl and passed. I’m sure eBay will come through for me like it always does.

So what are your thoughts about my new rug philosophy (no graphic white in the living room rug)? Feeling a little like I should get off my high horse here! :)

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63 thoughts on “New LR Rug Progess

  1. I agree that rugs can be expensive, but they do make a room look very cosy! I love the idea of layering rugs, and I really want a Persian rug now!

  2. I really want that same rug. Can you tell me the store you were at so that I can try calling them and maybe getting it shipped with the clearance price? Thanks so much

  3. Rug discussions are great! I love hearing people say how they love their Persians, especially the vintage and antique variety. My husband and I own a boutique rug store in Portland, Maine and always encourge purchasing the best quality rug you can afford, even if that means going rug less while saving up the funds. Our house is filled with "real" rugs aka Persians and the things that I have cleaned (babies and puppies included) would blow your mind. I have a Siskiyou sisal bound with brown leather from Fibreworks layered beneath a Persian Lori in my livingroom. The odor can be the latex many grasses are backed with, or it can be simply that they are grass.

  4. On the Persian rug front, my family has always bought these from Country and Eastern in Norwich, UK. Don't know about their overseas delivery policy and cost (so this may not be a very helpful comment!) but they have the most amazing range and very competitive prices. The couple who run it literally travel around picking up rugs direct from the source.

  5. Hello from this lurker!

    Oriental rugs last a lifetime ( and then a few ) because they are made from wool. Wool is a fatty fiber that " spits out " dirt from the fiber naturally. All you need to do for upkeep is simply vacuuming it to the direction to which the wool is leaning. Tend to the knots. To determine the quality of a rug it´s always best to first take a look on it on the wrong side. The best quality rugs have small, even knots and the pattern is clearly visible from the WS. Small, dense and symmetrical knots is what you are after. Larger knots suggest a lesser quality, you will want a firm base to your rug. Thicker rugs are used in rural areas where the finer, thinner rugs are known as " city rugs ". The most expensive dye in a rug is deep, dark indigo. When all of the dyes are natural, indigo is trickiest and most expensive to find.

    If one is miffed about stains on a natural fiber rug such as sea grass, sisal, jute etc… you could try lightly oiling the rugs ( use a light mist and use oils that don´t get rancid in room temperature ). This will " fill up " the fiber and also moisturize it. When there are spills, they are easier to wipe out and stains won´t show that easily. However, even a light oiling will darken the fiber. Often it brings out depth but it light base is what you are after- forget about all of this. Jutes, sisals etc. usually shed when they are too dry. It pays to spray them even with water at times. Natural fiber needs natural moisture. Many fibers come from natural conditions that are best described as rain forest. So they need the moisture to be able to breath and remain supple.
    Two rugs stay together best when there is a rug-felt underneath them. This also prevents slips.¨

    At the time I have two large bamboo rugs in our LR neatly together. TWO= I too fail to find an area rug huge enough and I absolutely refuse to sell a kidney for a rug.
    Bamboo is so cool and wonderful underneath your feet but I envision throwing a little sumthn´ sumthn´ in form of a cowhide or something come wintery months atop on the bamboo rugs. In case I´ve not replaced them with something else by then.

  6. Jenny – this is a great post. I've been having rug problems myself. I have a too colorful dhurrie in our living room. We're moving back to NY now so I'm selling it but I like thinking about the options you've presented and the sources. And now with a baby, I need to think about the white thing as well.

  7. WOW! @WeirdRockStar!! Thank you for the awesome info!! I love the misting trick and will totally be using that!

  8. Mon plaisir, Jennster!
    I might have a history in rugs due to the other history in interiors and textiles so there is doomed to be a few subjects that reeeally get me going. Rugs is one of those.

  9. I love rug discussion posts as well. I had the hardest time finding a rug for our living room – and took the longest time too. I didn't want to spend a ton but I also wanted something nice and neutral that we could use in another home once we moved. I finally broke down last year and bought the chevron rug from Crate & Barrel and I absolutely love it. It's jute/sisal/poly blend – I love the texture and the color (I forget the name of the color now and it's not online anymore – it might have been oatmeal). Long story short, I love it. It looks great in our living room and it's just a nice looking rug that I know I'll use in our next home. What a deal you got at ABC! My mission next time I'm in NY is to go to ABC and spend hours I'm sure.

  10. I purchased this exact Merida jute rug three years ago for my family room and it made it through my son's potty training stage and a number of red wine spills. Fibreworks may be 'cheaper' but I've found Merida's quality and durability to be far superior. The linen edge finish that I used does not have a single sign of wear and it is on the first floor in the heaviest traffic area of my home.

    In addition, Merida has an amazing story as they support artisans all over the world as well as have their own manufacturing in Massachusetts.

    Everyone has their own philosophy and budget constraints so it may not be for everyone but I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for and sometimes cheap becomes disposable…and that's not good for our environment.

  11. Hi Jenny,

    There are merely not a lot of home accessories that look as affluent, pulsating and luxurious as rugs. By themselves they formulate an attention-grabbing centrepiece and when elected to bout the overall interior decoration, it makes a style statement like no other.

    i am great admirer of your interior-deco work. You just transform a space, utilizing the desires of the house owner and the space, light and budget that are available.

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